New York City

Job Hunting? Here Are 4 Ways NYC's New Salary Question Ban Could Affect You, According to CNBC

What to Know

  • Mayor de Blasio says the new law will help eliminate the gender wage gap
  • It was authored by NYC's public advocate, Letitia James, who says the wage gap costs NYC women $5.8 million in potential earnings annually
  • It went into effect Nov. 1

As of Nov. 1, a new law in New York City prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The goal of the law is to eliminate the gender wage gap so women with lower paying jobs won’t face continued lower salary offers, but there are several other things to know about how the law affects you. CNBC reported on four of them. 

Narrowing the gender wage gap

Women earn 20 percent less than men performing the same job, CNBC reported, citing the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; that’s about $0.76 for every dollar men make. Women of color tend to be paid even less, with African American women earning 37 percent less and Latina women earning 46 percent less than their male counterparts. Earlier this year, the city’s public advocate Letitia James said the wage gap deprives women of $5.8 million in potential earnings each year. The law seeks to stem that trend. 

Other U.S. cities have similar laws

New York isn’t the only place that has banned or will ban the salary question. It’s illegal in New Orleans, Oregon and Puerto Rico, and will soon be illegal in Delaware, Massachusetts and California. A similar law in Philadelphia is facing legal challenges from the city’s Chamber of Commerce, according to CNBC.

The law doesn’t stop some questions

While the law bans employers from asking about salary history outright, they can still ask about “salary expectations” and “objective measures” of productivity (like how much an applicant previously made in annual bonuses). Employers can also ask applicants to disclose their salary after an offer is made, according to CNBC. Jill Rosenberg, a labor attorney who represents employers, told CNBC that employers aren’t usually trying to low-ball candidates, but trying to figure out what an appropriate and respectful offer is. 

If you’re asked the question…

Merrick Rossein, a lawyer and professor at the City University of New York School of Law, told CNBC that candidates should politely remind hiring managers of the law if they’re asked about their salary. After that, Rossein says candidates should still express their interest in discussing “compensation ranges and goals.” Even with the law, refusing to answer questions about salary could hurt a candidate’s chances of getting a job, and they won’t have many legal avenues (though the employer could be fined under the law).

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